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Academia and Post 2015: Fit for Purpose?


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Presented at a UN side event "The Role of Civil Society in Implementing the Post 2015 Development Agenda" July 21, 2015.

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Academia and Post 2015: Fit for Purpose?

  1. 1. • Some Troubling News • How can academics make a difference? • Where do we go from here? • Some Future Directions Agenda:
  2. 2. • Magnitude: • How can we make something this encompassing readily understood? • Public Knowledge: • Only 1 in 4 Americans can name the current UNSG; 2 in 5 didn’t know enough about him to evaluate his job performance • Partisanship: • Fox News 7/21/14: “centerpiece of the latest multi-trillion-dollar U.N. bid to reshape the planet along largely socialist or progressive lines” Post-2015 Domestic Challenges
  3. 3. It is customary in these discussions for academics to bemoan their lack of “real world” impact.
  4. 4. Conventional debates about the influence of academics focus on influence ex ante.
  5. 5. But this view overlooks a role for academics as interlocutors between the UN and the public And this role is vitally important moving forward
  6. 6. • Communicating Complexity • Mobilizing Collective Action • Active learning strategies can place Post-2015 at the heart of course assignments • Training Skills Too! • Using students as a “force multiplier” Bridging the Gap
  7. 7. • Communicating Complexity • If every professor who teaches on the UN wrote one op-ed or blog post… • Mobilizing Collective Action • Engaging students through local UNA chapters / community outreach • Training Skills • Op-ed writing • Data visualization Where can we go from here?
  8. 8. • Address the information deficit • “What’s the UN doing?” • Sell engagement with Post-2015 • “Why should I care?” • Strengthen accountability • “How can we hold governments to their words?” What would this do?
  9. 9. • Going Younger: • Tailoring the message to K-12 • Going Global: • Scaling up to UN MOOCs What else is there?
  10. 10. Are we ready to embrace this challenge?
  11. 11. Email: Twitter: @MartinSEdwards For More Information
  12. 12. • Cartoon by Jack Ohman from David Newsom “Foreign Policy and Academia” Foreign Policy 101 (Winter 1995-1996) Source for image